Well here we go again, everybody—another week, another round of Resolutions! Today, I’m being selfish though. Instead of a guest review, I’ve got another resolution of my own to knock out. This is one I heard about from a friend several years back, and I remember thinking, “That sounds interesting. I should watch it.” And then I didn’t. For a long, long time. I can’t quite recall when this became a film resolution. Maybe after I finally starting paying attention to Sam Rockwell? Unfortunately, I don’t think that was until after I saw Seven Psychopaths…BUT I’m very happy I did finally take notice of him because this was a pretty solid resolution. Let’s talk about it Moon!
Synopsis: “Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.”
What I liked:
- Sam Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell. Playing multiple versions of his character, Rockwell has his work cut out for him in this movie, but he delivers. I don’t want to say more than that due to potential spoilers. Let’s just leave it at this: Rockwell is awesome.
- Kevin Spacey as computer GERTY. Really, Spacey can do no wrong—no exception here as he voices suspiciously cheerful and surprisingly expressive GERTY. It’s so funny watching this after 2001: A Space Odyssey because I could not stop thinking of HAL. Though, to be fair, with his emoticon faces and very helpful demeanor, GERTY is significantly less creepy than HAL.
- The fascinating premise. A three-year solo assignment on the moon is interesting in and of itself, but the film thickens the plot by throwing in a few curveballs that drastically change the story. It became something entirely different than what I was expecting, but I was okay with that. Which leads me to my next point…
- The mystery. From pretty much the beginning of the film, it’s clear that something fishy is going on, but good luck trying to figure out what that is. It took me totally by surprise, and I loved that.
- The ending. It’s surprisingly satisfying, tying things up in a pretty perfect way. I think I appreciated it even more after experiencing the massively WTF ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sci-fi films don’t have to end crazy, Mr. Kubrick.
What I didn’t like:
- The slow pace—especially in the beginning. It’s one of those films where not a whole really happens, but to me the story and characters were intriguing enough that it still worked. Although the slow pace is also tied to my next point…
- Some of the film feels a bit repetitive. Given what we find out about what’s really going on at the lunar station, it makes sense, but it still might turn some people off.
- The mystery is great, but it’s solved about halfway into the movie. I’m torn on this one—I liked the setup and the way the plot unfolds so much that I’d hate to change anything about it, but it does take away something when the mystery is sorted out so soon. It’s a tricky balance that isn’t totally satisfying.
- The special effects. I hate to pick on this because it’s clearly not a big-budget film, but after seeing films like Gravity and Interstellar, I found the effects for this one pretty meh. Heck, I even found the visuals in 2001: A Space Odyssey more impressive, and that film is 40 years older than this one.
- To some viewers, it may seem derivative. I honestly feel this film has enough unique content going for it to make it stand out as something fresh, but it does clearly beg, borrow, and steal some things here and there. The whole “mission on the moon” thing has obviously been done before—same goes for the vaguely menacing computer. But, again, I believe the film as a whole is greater than these copycat bits.
A Worthy Resolution? Definitely. I’ll admit that Moon won’t be everyone’s thing, but I found it to be a really interesting little sci-fi gem. It was a delight to see Rockwell in one of his best performances, and I certainly can’t argue with the casting of Spacey the computer companion. The slow pacing and having the big mystery solved halfway through the film does weaken the overall experience, I think, but this one is still worth a watch for sci-fi fans and especially for Rockwell fans.
My Grade: B+
So, so happy that 2001: A Space Odyssey has not jaded my sci-fi film-watching experience. 🙂 Anyway, I’m finishing up my guest posts this week, and they’re all pretty fantastic, so stay tuned!